Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency soaring to new heights this week. Coindesk's Director of Research Nolan Bauerle and Fortune Staff Writer Robert Hackett explain factors driving altcoins up, and Bitcoin down.
"Bitcoin has an enviable problem of being so popular, and such strong brand name that it became hard to access," says Bauerle. "I think when people saw that surge hit in December they said well I'll try something else." Altcoins like Ripple's XRP, Ethereum, and Tron posted significant gains in the first week of 2018.
"Retail investors are gobbling it up," says Hackett on some companies adding the word "Blockchain" to their name. " On Thursday Ripple's co-founder Chris Larsen became one of the wealthiest Americans on paper with his shares of the cryptocurrency growing to more than $59 billion. But Hackett says its important to note these shares are hard to transfer to direct wealth. Even if he were able to cash out all of his fortune, the markets would not handle it well says Hackett.